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Scenes like this one at Kuala Lumpur International Airport are not uncommon when baggage problems crop up.
Sometimes it can be a manpower shortage such as the one that struck this morning. Other times they can be caused by striking baggage handlers.
I’ve seen weather issues cause scenes of near chaos. Do you want to see meltdowns? Watch what happens at DFW during a summer storm. When baggage cannot be offloaded during an extended ramp closure, angry inbound passengers wait for luggage.
And then there are all the fun times when luggage gets lost. I’ve been the victim a few times. I still remember being angry with British Airways after being forced to check my carry-on. Which they then lost. Baggage problems really irk me.
None of us are immune. In fact, I’ve followed some pretty crazy stories over the past few years. With a few, friends have made it onto cruise ships with their bags arriving at the dock just as the gangway was being pulled back. And in other less successful tales, they’ve found themselves on a whirlwind trip through Europe as their bag tried to follow them all week, always one city behind.
I would love to be able to get by all of the time with ONLY a carry-on bag. But the reality is that I cannot. Some of my trips are longer and require more complex packing lists. And sometimes I just like to get a bit more creative with my wardrobe options.
A Possible Solution
I finally found a good solution last year – Luggage Forward
This service, while not inexpensive, gives me the peace of mind of knowing that I can bypass airport baggage handling and be assured that my bag makes it to my destination in good shape and ahead of when I need it to be there.
I tried it for the first time last fall. I was headed to Athens for a cruise and my originally planned two day cushion was cut short when my company asked me to fly to Seattle to teach at a training class. While I was happy to do so, but it meant leaving for vacation – with two weeks of cruise wear – straight from a week of work travel.
Doing so meant there was only ONE international flight option that would get me from Seattle to Athens in time to board the cruise – and it would require a relatively short connection in Frankfurt. While I trust Lufthansa, I was VERY nervous about what might happen if my bag didn’t get loaded in Seattle or it somehow missed the handoff in Frankfurt. I decided that Luggage Forward was the answer to be certain my cruise suitcase made it.
How It Worked
I started by sharing where my luggage would be picked up from. Then I entered my desired arrival information for Athens – date of sailing, cruise ship port and stateroom information. I included my luggage size (I was given several options to pick from). Then a variety of price options appeared. I had an opportunity to adjust this to see different prices – an earlier shipping date or smaller bag, for example. Once I settled on an option, I chose a pick up window and entered payment information.
The company set a two hour window for the courier to pick up the bag. About a week before the pickup, I received a package with instructions. All of the necessary tags and documents were enclosed. I packed my bag, included the inside manifest, and tagged it for delivery. The driver was on time and off my bag went. I received a pick up notice almost immediately. It included a URL for tracking my bag’s geographic location at any time.
It was reassuring to see that my bag made it to Greece very quickly – within 48 hours, in fact. The bag sat waiting for me for a week although some of that time may have been spent clearing Greek customs. Luggage Forward takes the time to get bags through that process so that everything is waiting on the other side at your hotel, home or cruise ship location.
When I boarded my Seabourn ship, my bag was waiting on the bed of my suite ready to be unpacked.
I was so pleased with Luggage Forward that I tried them again on my next cruise, this time in reverse. This time, I was headed out on a business trip after a Caribbean cruise. I didn’t want to haul my beachwear with me to the cold northeast. So I sent my large vacation suitcase home and headed to the airport with only my coat and carry-on. The package with tags had been sent to me at home before departure. I had to carry it with me on vacation and tag my bags in my cabin. The Luggage Forward representative met me immediately outside the ship’s customs area to pick up my tagged bag. My bags arrived at home a week later. It was just in time for me to be in a frame of mind to deal with laundry again!
It was relaxing to start my vacation with no baggage problems whatsoever – and no strained back from all that lifting. I also liked the reassurance that my bags definitely made the cruise. It is not an inexpensive option however. Also, my bag had to be packed almost 10 days before the cruise. I would not use this on all of my trips but I will definitely use it when either a) I need to be guaranteed that a bag arrives within a specific time window (i.e. for a cruise departure or trip requiring specific items – like a wedding or ski trip) or b) when I do not want to handle luggage myself and can be without it for a week or longer
Have you used Luggage Forward yet? I’d encourage you to try it on your next trip where you don’t want to mess with hauling luggage and let us know what you think